For any event graduate or professional out there, we all know how stressful and jam-packed working in the events industry can be. Even with immaculate and precise planning, things indeed can go wrong. With long hours and pressured deadlines to meet, we all do our absolute best to ensure the highest standard events and customer experiences are delivered. Whilst doing all of this can be incredibly rewarding, a lot of us forget the effect it can have to our health and overall mental well-being. Taking a step back from our busy lives and having a think about our mental state is incredibly important.
I completed my degree in Event Management from the University of Hertfordshire in 2018 and I can honestly say it was the best years of my life. I absolutely loved learning about the industry, being able to learn so many skills and widening my knowledge about events and business. Whilst studying for my degree I unfortunately suffered from an eating disorder, which affected my employment after graduating. I battled so much with my mental illness throughout my years at university, but I continued reaching all my academic goals. With a lot of hard work, commitment and motivation I achieved a First Class Honours, built the confidence to deliver a speech at graduation in front of hundreds of people and was a winner of a Dean’s Award from the University of Hertfordshire. I was very lucky to have a tremendous amount of support from family, friends and university tutors. However, it was definitely a big eye opener for me about the importance of mental health and working in this industry.
My first job after university was for a small hotel company managing their social media platforms. I then moved onto working for the University of Hertfordshire where I took part in a lot of event planning, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, I relapsed badly with the eating disorder, which unfortunately led to me leaving my job to focus on my health. From this experience and the huge amount learnt through therapy, I really wanted to share some very important tips for Event Well month…
NUTRITION IS KEY
Being so busy planning, organizing, budgeting and marketing events can take up a lot of our time. We almost forget what food is and end up fuelling on caffeine or fast food. However, the truth is we all need good nutrition and a balanced diet to allow our bodies to function. It is very easy to ‘forget’ to eat from being so busy but it is crucial that we are regularly nourishing our bodies with good dense food. Did you know that our brains need 500 calories just to function normally? Yes 500!
I got very caught up on living on these low calorie, low carb diets to help lose weight during university and work. But I can 100% tell you that these are useless and can have a huge negative impact on health. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to have a balanced diet, which meet our daily calorie needs. Even sitting and typing away a risk assessment or creating some marketing material for an event burns calories. It is vital that you focus on eating the main macronutrients of carbohydrate, proteins and healthy fats. Focus on eating complex carbohydrates that slowly release energy, perfect for a long packed day of event planning.
Some great energy foods include:
– Brown rice
– Wholemeal bread
– Grains such as quinoa, bulgur and buckwheat
– Potatoes/sweet potato
– Chicken -Lentils
– Turkey – Chickpeas
– Eggs – Beans
– Tofu – Milk (dairy or plant based)
– Soya – Greek Yoghurt
– Quorn – Nuts
– Nuts – Nut butters
– Avocado – Rapeseed oil
– Olive oil – Coconut oi
Fill you bag with some good energizing snacks! Focus on carbohydrates and proteins to keep you fuller for longer. There are a lot of unhealthy snacks marketed in supermarkets, tempting us to make unhealthy choices. Even though treat foods are absolutely great to have, eating a chocolate bar, crisps or gulping down energy drinks can affect your blood sugar levels negatively. Working in the events industry, it is crucial that you sustain good levels of energy throughout the day to keep yourself well focused for the tasks set.
Some great quick snacks that I lived by when working were:
-Dried fruits (reminds me of sweets!)
-Nakd bars (these come in many delicious dessert flavors)
-The Protein and Co energy balls (available in Holland & Barrett or on their website)
– Dark chocolate rice cakes
– Egg muffins (which can be pre made the night before. Here is a great quick recipe https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/easy-egg-muffins)
– Hummus and pitta or ryvita
-Fruit and peanut/almond butter
– Greek yoghurt and protein powder (Pulsin and Misfits are great brands to try)
– Roasted chickpeas
– Edamme beans
– Quorn chicken and turkey slices (fill with veggies and hummus for a protein boost)
Quick tip- pairing fruits with healthy fats such as nut butters, release energy more slowly into our blood stream making us feel fuller for longer!
Staying hydrated is essential for our concentration and bodily functions. Always keep a water bottle with you and aim to sip on it throughout the day. Being dehydrated can affect your mental performance, mood and well being. Tea and coffee counts too, but aim for water. Add some mint, cucumber or lemon for a refreshing taste.
Family & Friends
Events do take up so much of our time and it is easy to get in a workaholic mode. Blocking out socializing, something I see with that many event professionals, however, acknowledging that we are human and not machines is important. Say yes to that family dinner; say yes to meeting that friend for a coffee. These small memories will be so worth it when you look back in a year’s time. Taking out time to do this for myself whist working and battling my eating disorder, helped me stay focused on my goal and release any negative energy I had towards food. It made me forget about the things going wrong with my recovery and focus on moments that really mattered.
Body image & self-love
We have so many high expectations to meet on our physical appearance and social media is packed with people’s opinions on nutrition, what crazy dietsor exercise regimes we should follow. But honestly there is no such thing as diets! Rhiannon Lambert is fantastic nutritionist who I follow n to help my relationship with food. She has amazing recipes, truthful blog articles and a podcast about nutrition and a balanced diet. I really recommend following her on social media and having a listen to her podcast- https://rhitrition.com
My therapist told me to look at the words diet and health. She pointed out the word die in diet and heal in health. This always stuck with me whist battling my eating disorder and I followed a more holistic approach, focusing on how I feel on the inside. So many of us worry about our body image and it is easy to be unhappy with how we look. But really appreciating and focusing on the amazing functions you body does for you, can really help on your bad body image days. The next time you feel unhappy with you body, turn the negative to a positive. Here are a few examples:
I hate my legs My legs allow me to walk, dance, play sports and
My stomach is fat This muscular organ helps digest foods.
My arms are wobbly My arms allow me to cook, write and swim.
Focusing on yourself as a whole person and the amazing qualities you have are so much more important than your physical appearance. Self-acceptance and confidence in yourself makes you stronger, and remember there is no such thing as a perfect body. The majority of images we see in magazines and social media are airbrushed; so don’t compare yourself to what is in the media.
Sounds silly, but honestly, don’t forget to smile. It is proven that smiling and pushing towards a positive mindset will make you feel better. Whist battling with the eating disorder, I always smiled! Smiling and remembering the positive aspects of food, encouraged me to power through those tough moments and achieve my goals. So when you are faced with a challenging moment at work or all of a sudden things are going wrong at an event, take a deep breath and smile. Reset your mind and remember things will work out!
If you have any further questions or want some more advice, feel free to connect with me:
Manisha Maju, Events Management Graduate